By: Pastor Mary Beth Hartenstein

The view from my window today has been one of much activity. No, it is not because the birds are at the feeder that hangs just a few short feet away, but because it is Election Day. Hope United Church of Christ serves as a polling place for the City of Hiawatha. There have been people who have driven here and walked here; there have been those who have seen many election days in the past and some who are voting for perhaps the first time; there are those who come ready to cast their vote and those that are still contemplating which candidate is the best choice. With several mid-term positions open and with the closeness of the polls, many individuals are exercising their privilege to cast their vote and to make their voice heard.

I am guessing that I will not be the only one who is glad to stop receiving phone calls to get my opinion or to try to “sell” me on a candidate. I am sure that there are many who will be happy to have those political ads off the airwaves of radio and TV and to have them removed from our social media sites. I am certain that there will be a collective sigh of gladness that this election will draw to a close.

It is such a mix bag – this election process we have here in America. There is the wonderful freedom that nearly anyone can have a voice and vote in choosing the leadership of our local, state, and national governments. There is great frustration that is often shared when candidates say more negative things about their opponents than they say positive things about themselves. There is a lot of annoyance about how much money is spent on advertisements and publicity as candidates and organizations promote themselves and their agendas. All of this represents the goodness and challenge of freedom of choice.

As cars continue to come into our lot and a steady stream of voters makes their way to the Fellowship Hall, no outcomes of this election will be known for hours and maybe even days. But this I do know, that a prayer can be offered for no matter who will be our next elected leaders and so will you join with me in offering these words:

Give our elected officials your justice, O God, and your righteousness to all who follow them in office. May they lead your people with righteousness and offer justice to all people. May our leaders speak up for those whose voices have been silenced. May they gather around a table of abundance, where no one is excluded and where each voice is given a chance to make a difference. Amen.